While the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team hasn't played a game in two weeks, it doesn't mean the break has been uneventful.
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The Crimson Bears (13-3, 4-0 Southeast) sat atop the Alaska Sportswriters Prep Basketball Poll the last two weeks. The team brings an eight-game winning streak into tonight's and Saturday's contests with West Valley (1-11) at the JDHS gym. Both games tip-off at 8 p.m.
"We want to keep doing what we want to do and keep our intensity so we don't relax," first-year coach Steve Potter said Thursday. "Sitting at number one can give you a false sense of confidence sometimes. I'm doing my best not to get us overconfident. We've been trying to challenge ourselves physically in practice and they're responding well."
Despite running through the competition recently, an injury will force JDHS to deal with some adversity this weekend.
Senior guard Robert Beierly suffered a possible broken collarbone during practice last weekend. Potter said Beierly may be out of commission until the state tournament in late March if the bone is broken.
Beierly provided the Bears with an offensive spark as a starter and reserve this season. The senior hit a pair of key shots in Juneau-Douglas' 59-57 victory over then-top ranked Dimond on Jan. 27.
Crimson Bears boys team
Who? No. 1 JDHS (13-3, 4-0) vs. West Valley (1-11).
When? 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday.
Where? JDHS gym.
What's at stake? Two wins this weekend would give JDHS a perfect 5-0 record against teams from the Fairbanks area.
"They're a little bit down," Potter said of the team. "Robert is an important part of the team. We're still hopeful he can make it back."
This weekend, JDHS faces a West Valley squad winless against Class 4A competition this year.
The Crimson Bears upended the Wolfpack 56-39 on Feb. 1 in the first game of a three-day road trip in Fairbanks. JDHS beat West Valley, North Pole and Lathrop by an average of 24.7 points during the trip.
Will Egolf scored a game-high 26 points in the Feb. 1 win. Clae Baker, Faifo Levale and Dominique Brinson added seven each and Ryan Larson scored five points for JDHS.
Andy Musgrove led West Valley with 16 points.
"They defended us pretty much with a sagging 2-3 zone," Potter said. "Offensively, they run a lot of ball screens."
A key to defending West Valley's screening offense, Potter said, is communication and being aware of picks set by the Wolfpack.
Looking out for screens is something JDHS should be adept at because of practicing with Levale, who's listed as 6-feet tall and 280 pounds.
The junior earned some of the biggest cheers from Juneau's fans this season when an unaware defender crashed to the floor after colliding full speed into Levale's thick, stationary frame.
"We communicate first so we know where the screens are coming and we're respectable with that because of Faifo," Potter said. "If the kids don't talk, bad things happen."
Juneau-Douglas enters the home stretch of the season this weekend. Following West Valley, JDHS will host Sitka next weekend in the home finale before traveling south for two games against rival Ketchikan.
"West Valley has seen us play so they can make adjustments," Potter said. "Sitka plays us tough and the games in Ketchikan will be pretty rugged. We have work to do."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.
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